Archive for bon iver

Great new music… Big Red Machine

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2018 by dc


Most Justin Vernon fans will already know about his latest side project, Big Red Machine. But for those not yet aware of his latest venture, his latest incarnation sees him teaming up with The National‘s Aaron Dessner, alongside a host of other names dotted across the album, including This Is the Kit, Phoebe Bridgers and members of Arcade Fire and The Staves.

Echoes of both of Bon Iver‘s last two albums can be heard across Big Red Machine. Bon Iver‘s penchant for soaring harmonies and heartfelt digital soul appear most prominently on tracks like, Hymnostic and I Wont Run From It, which could both easily be off-cuts from 2011’s Bon Iver, Bon Iver.

The sonic experimentation of last year’s 22, A Million is even more prominent. Tracks like Lyla, Gratitude and Forest Green, all follow vaguely similar paths, pulling in shuffling, arrhythmic drum beats, gently swelling synths and mellow vocals. All three tracks clock in at just under six minutes each and whilst the album has a hazy, sprawling feel to it, it never seems overly indulgent – although, OMDB, with it’s gurgling Vernon vocals and shuffling nowhere rhythms, does test the patience a bit.

The album’s at it’s best when it’s find’s just the right balance between the fascinating sonic experimentation of 22, A Million, and the heartfelt melodicism of Bon Iver, Bon Iver. Fourth track, Air Stryp, is stunning. Some of the beats have an almost Aphex Twin-esque feel to them and Vernon‘s voice whispers and growls perfectly.

The new album also marks the start of a new project headed up by Vernon and Dessner called People. It’s based on musical collaboration and Dessner describes it as, “a large collective and community of artists that’s been collaborating for a long time — which is a way to sort of work together and publish music that’s sort of outside of the traditional marketing bottleneck. Big Red Machine is really a community effort: I guess it involves almost 30 musicians. It does come out of our friendship, but it’s really something that is deeply collaborative.”

Big Red Machine‘s eponymous debut album is available to buy and stream now.

New portraits from Dunstan Doodles

Posted in Art, Design with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2016 by dc

Follow Dunstan Doodles on Instagram here – and check out some of the new portraits below:





From top to bottom – Bill Murray as Big Ern in Kingpin, Alfred Hitchcock, Bon Iver and Caroline Aherne. Check out more from Dunstan Doodles here.

Slacker Shack’s Top Ten Albums of 2016

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2016 by dc


As I get older and busier, I feel it is only right I take things a bit easier and just pick ten favourite albums this year. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a great year for music, it’s just that ten seems a bit less daunting than the usual twenty as I sit here arguing with myself.

2016 saw the return of hip hop legends A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul and great new albums from Slacker Shack favourites like Bon Iver, Future Of The Left, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Danny Brown, Aesop Rock and Cate Le Bon. All on fine, fine form.

As far as new artists go nothing’s cracked my top 10. There’s been loads of great music from debutants like Swedish producer sir Was (who’s sound is intriguingly described by his label, “as though D’Angelo and Prince threw David Crosby into the studio with Tame Impala and Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis”), 4AD’s latest quality find, Pixx, Toronto indie-rockers, Weaves and The Magnetic North with their excellent concept album, Prospect Of Skelmersdale. But nothing that quite squeezed in.

So, my top ten. I like to think it’s a vaguely eclectic mix (variety is the spice of life and all that). Firstly, there are brilliant sophomore releases from Morgan Delt (Phase Zero) and D.D Dumbo (Utopia Defeated). The former is a truly joyous album, all psychedelic curiosity and playfulness – a retroist summer of love album that gurgles and floats without ever seeming kitschy or forced.

Two British albums make the cut. Cate Le Bon returned with Crab Day, and I had the pleasure of seeing her live earlier in the year in Manchester. The album is a heady mix of Magic Band jerkiness, Kate Bush meets Nico wonderment and gloriously skew-whiff melodies, and I’ve had it on heavy rotation for months. The second British pick is The Future Of The Left’s latest, The Peace & Truce of Future of the Left. Lead Leftie, Andrew Falkous remains not only one of my favourite current lyricists but one of the best of the past 15 years. A sardonic wit underpinned by a chugging post hardcore malevolence, his band’s latest album, might not quite reach the dizzying heights of a couple of it’s predecessors, but it’s a fascinating and humorous growl of a record nonetheless.

As far as rock music goes the real stand out album this year was King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s psych-rock chug-a-thon, Nonagon Infinity. I’ve loved their last three albums (particularly last year’s Paper Mâché Dream Balloon), but Nonagon Infinity just turns the amps up to 11 from the off and stays there.

2016 been a good year for hip hop too. Albums by Kool Keith, De La Soul, Pusha T, Kendrick Lamar, Anderson Paak, DJ Shadow, Open Mike Eagle, clipping. and London’s very own, Skepta, were all whiskers away from my top ten. Three albums did make it onto the shortlist though.

Firstly, Danny Brown’s Atrocity Exhibition – an album that widens his sound palette further, pulling in everything from trap to free jazz, and from grime to dubstep – all of it smothered in Brown’s nasty rasp and hyperactive flow.

My next pick is the latest album from one of my favourite rappers of the past fifteen years, Aesop Rock. The Impossible Kid is probably Aesop’s most accessible album to date without losing any of the verbal dexterity and poetic wordplay that have graced his previous albums. This time though there’s less abstract thought and surrealism and something all together more autobiographical.

My final hip hop choice is A Tribe Called Quest’s glorious return, We Got it From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service. With the untimely death of founding member, Phife Dawg, the album was always going to come with a lump in the throat and a tear in the eye, but what gets you is the overwhelming joy of it all from start to finish. The people making this album clearly loved being involved, everyone just bounces and buzzes off each other and it acts as a mighty epitaph to Phife.

Penultimately, one album I’ve only really found and got into over the past month is Nicolas Jaar’s, Sirens. It’s a fairly sprawling affair but after a few listens it becomes a wide-eyed and cinematic landscape of an album. Cherry picking all kinds of influences it’s held together with a kind of electro-jazz wizardry. It thrills both the beard stroker and foot tapper in me simultaneously. Given a few more months of frequent listens and it might even have grabbed Slacker Shack’s coveted (pfft) top spot!

So, onto the winner – Bon Iver’s 22, A Million Slacker Shack’s album of the 2016. It was a far odder album than I expected. Something more experimental and abstract than I’d envisaged and in many ways it’s a beautiful album of opposites and gentle curveballs. Justin Vernon’s lyric’s are oblique and obtuse but there are pockets of tender, personal snapshots and warmth. Vernon even manages to make his heavily processed vocals sound touching and soulful like an alien Neil Young. Some reviewers have compared it in spirit to Radiohead’s Kid A and I can see the comparisons. Both have an electronic, experimental and alien approach but both have a real soulfulness and soft underbelly too. At times I’ve listened to 22, A Million on repeat, getting gently hypnotised by it all and lost in all the strange glitches and gurgles. I love it.

Bon Iver – 22, A Million

Nicolas Jaar – Sirens

A Tribe Called Quest – We Got it From Here… Thank You 4 Your service

Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid

Morgan Delt – Phase Zero

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Nonagon Infinity

Cate Le Bon – Crab Day

Future Of The Left – The Peace & Truce of Future of the Left

Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition              

D.D Dumbo – Utopia Defeated

Bon Iver – 33 GOD – new (lyric) video

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2016 by dc

Bon Iver are back and they’ve gone all futuristic (n’ shit). High pitched robot gurgles? Check. Swirling synth wobbles? Check. R&B aliens moaning stuff from time to time? Check. But it’s Bon Iver and it all works.

It’s basically Bon Iver of old with extra splashes of one of Justin Vernon‘s other “side projects”, Volcano Choir (and dare I say it, Kanye – shhhhh). Check out 33 GOD below and see what you think:

33 GOD is taken from the band’s forthcoming record 22, A Million, which is due to be released 30 September.

Volcano Choir – Byegone – new video

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2013 by dc

My favourite Justin Vernon ‘side-project’, Volcano Choir are about to release their second album, Repave – and, Byegone, the first single from the album, is a gorgeous initial offering.

Truth be told, it could easily be a Bon Iver song – which isn’t something you could say about any of the tracks on their first album, Unmap.

Whether it’s a sign of what to expect when Repave is released in early September, is another matter. Check out the video for, Byegone below:

The Flaming Lips & Bon Iver – Ashes In The Air – new video

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2013 by dc

This is very odd – even by The Flaming Lips‘ recent standards (contains flashing images and extreme weirdness):

Bon Iver – Beth/Rest – new video

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2012 by dc

Earlier today Bon Iver shared the new video for Beth/Rest. The video was co-directed by Justin Vernon himself (along with Dan Huiting).

Check it out below:

Bit daft isn’t it?

Beth/Rest is out in the US today on 12″ via Jagjaguwar. It’s released in the UK and Europe on the 12th November via 4AD.